During June of 2018, the month I graduated high school, I got emotional about the end of the high school chapter of my life only once: onstage, dancing next to Miss Deb and the other graduating seniors during the last recital show of the day. I was sad to leave high school, but leaving All That Jazz was worse. Over my three years (so far!) of college, I’ve only recently realized exactly why leaving ATJ was worse. At first, I thought it was the dancing that I would miss the most. At college, I immediately got involved with a tap group and various seasonal performances. I greatly enjoyed the weekly practices and performances, but it wasn’t exactly the same. I got involved in other student groups, some academic, some in student leadership, and some simply social, meant to encourage people to get to know each other. Through each of these groups, I managed to find pieces of what I cherished about ATJ. It was easy to replicate what I liked about high school through my classes and professors. To replicate ATJ, I had to find dance, performance, leadership, and community in a handful of different places. It wasn’t as simple as joining another dance group, contrary to what I thought going into my freshman year.
Now, at the end of my junior year, I feel like I’ve securely reached a level of comfort in my communities on campus. The journey to finding those communities, however, has made me doubly grateful for All That Jazz. Having been there since I was five, I didn’t realize all the support, learning opportunities, and leadership lessons that Miss Deb and the other teachers gave their students alongside the dancing. Being a part of ATJ taught me what it’s like to be a part of a community that cares about your entire being, and I know I’ll continue to seek out supportive communities and mentors as I move to the next stage of my life, after graduation.
All That Jazz, class of 2018 and Georgetown University, class of 2022